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The Silent Treatment, Overcoming The Just Looking Response

QuestionsImagine a leasing consultant returning from an apartment tour. It’s an apartment with a less than great view, it’s been vacant for 45 days. It’s on this weeks focus “hot” list. The manager asks, “How did it go, did you get a deposit?” The leasing response, “Great, they didn’t even comment on the view! They’re going to get back with me and let me know if they want the apartment.” The manager investigates a little further, “What objections did they have? We’re you able to overcome them, what features and benefits did you use? Challenging the Just Looking Response The response from the leasing consultant is chilling, “They really didn’t say too much, they were just looking.” Chances are the decision on this apartment has been made. The prospect probably won’t be returning. Ask any sales person; retail, automotive,. The most difficult sale to close is the customer that’s “just looking.” When someone is “Just Looking” A sales person:-can’t overcome objections-can’t create a sense of urgency-can’t create interest in features and benefits A skilled leasing professional isn’t going to be content with a “just looking” response. Using Conversation Starters A few open ended questions can change the direction of the conversation-what do you like about where you live now.-what are you looking for in a new home.-is your current home convenient for your lifestyle?-does your closet have enough storage for your shoes? Every person that enters a leasing office looking for an apartment is an opportunity for a twelve month lease. If a prospect isn’t forthcoming about their opinion of the po......
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What are the Top Sources of Ancillary Income?

Ancillary income for multifamily properties is always a hot topic, both for punitive fee-based charges, as well as service upgrades, and was a compelling session topic at the 2017 National Apartment Association Education Conference and Expo.  According to Chase Harrington, COO of Entrata, ancillary income averages 4.4% of scheduled monthly charges, and he shared their research on the top 20 sources of ancillary income: Additionally, the panelists at the session, Gunti Weissenberger of Westover Companies, Kellie Hughes of Mill Creek, and Robert Speck of Bonaventure, shared their top 10 sources of ancillary income: Westover Companies Mill Creek (Modera Brand) Mill Creek (Alister Brand) Bonaventure Utilities Garage Early Termination Fees Late Fee Income Early Termination Fees Parking Parking Garage Income Laundry Early Termination Fees Laundry Income Bldg Facility (Renters Insurance) Month to Month Fee Amenity Fee Late Fee Pet  Rent Pet Income Storage Pet Premium Month to Month Premium Water Application Fee Administration Fee Laundry Income Billing Fee Pet Premium Application Fee Valet Trash Cable Internet Initial Pet Fee Initial Pet Fee Application Fees Late Fee Administration Fee Misc Income Pet Move-In Fee Short Term Premium Late Fee Storage Parking Income   The session also shared some data from NAA on actual ancillary income averages in some top metro areas:   The panelists also shared some insightful comments about specific ancillary income options: RUBS - Gunti Weissenberger indicated that they don't prefer using RUBS as their residents don't like the way utilities are broken out.  He mentioned that when they switch to......
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Lessons Learned: Conducting a Pricing Review

Lessons Learned: Conducting a Pricing ReviewWeekly or bi-weekly pricing review calls are a great forum to learn more information on why a property is or isn’t leasing. But sometimes when helping teams the answer isn’t as simple as just “the price”. You may be surprised what may arise as part of these regular communications. Here are three lessons learned from leading these pricing review calls:  1. Managing the Fear is Very Important: One of the main reasons for having a pricing call is to help the operations team understand your revenue management system’s pricing recommendations. Additionally, these calls assist in soliciting important feedback from the sites.  However, it’s not quite that simple. The natural side effect of these conversations is that the emotions of the operations team come through, and it’s up to the revenue manager to help manage these responses and not overreact. When a revenue management system sees opportunity, the price can rise to a level that feels uncomfortable for the field. Managing the fear by explaining the data behind the system can help, but oftentimes it’s not just relaying the numbers- a good pricing manager needs to be part motivational speaker to achieve that support. Of course, as time goes on and teams learn to trust the pricing recommendations, the opposite problem may arise. Be careful that your teams don’t get too overconfident, as overriding a revenue management system upwards can be just as detrimental as overriding the price downward.   2. Over-Amenitizing Amenities are often initially established with a piecemeal approach. On the pricing calls, we look at pricing h......
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Hardwire Internet has important edge over Wi-Fi for Apartments

Hardwire Internet has important edge over Wi-Fi for Apartments The world is linked by wireless Internet, but even Wi-Fi can experience some connection tangles from time to time. While, Wi-Fi is a more popular, widely used method of Internet connection these days, don’t be so quick to bail on the good ol’ Ethernet cord – at least for the backend of your apartment community. Wi-Fi is more convenient and tops the resident demand list, but a trusty hardwire connection is immensely more secure and challenging to hack. Convenience is a great sell, and your property probably won’t meet its occupancy goals without wireless access for daily use in your resident’s apartment homes. You have to have it. Although, when it comes to operations, nothing beats top-notch security, especially digital security, which some residents don’t realize they actually need. As more apartment communities begin to rely on Internet connection for day-to-day operational functions, like rent payment portal sites and electronic package locker systems, property managers should consider some of the pitfalls of a wireless connection before rolling up the Ethernet cables for good: Wi-Fi signals commonly drop with interference Wireless doesn’t have as stable an Internet connection as a hardwire because it only works within a certain range, and is more susceptible to interference and objects blocking the signal. Any wireless user can vouch a Wi-Fi signal can get pretty feisty. In an apartment community, if the wireless were to go out, it could disable an entire system that operates via Internet. If Wi-Fi lose......
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5 Vital Questions To Ask Yourself When You Are Stuck

5 Vital Questions To Ask Yourself When You Are Stuck
Have you ever been cruising through life, when all of a sudden, you hit a wall? I experienced this feeling of being stuck shortly after the Great Recession of 2008.  My business and life were both in the midst of an upheaval, and I began to question my purpose in life. I decided to take massive action and enroll in Life Coaching School at IPEC (Institute For Professional Excellence In Coaching), and was presented with these five vital questions during the training:     What do you want? What frustrates you about your life/business? What would it take to double your business? What have you tried and not tried? What is the number one thing you are trying to accomplish?   What do you want? This may seem like a fairly easy question to answer, but I will guarantee you that if you ask most people what they want, they will quickly proceed to tell you what they DON’T want. Therein lies the enormous problem. Most people’s focus is on what they don’t want, and any successful person learns that what you focus on is what grows in your life. It may appear to be a simple question, but once you can address the question, answers will begin pouring out. Let me give you a personal example.  During the time I became disgruntled with my business, I kept telling myself that I did not want to continue down the same path. I knew what I didn’t want, to work at the restaurant. What was it that I ......
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Why You Cannot Afford To Run a Property Management Firm Without a Website

Why You Cannot Afford To Run a Property Management Firm Without a Website
$39 billion. That’s the annual revenue of the U.S. property management industry. It sure looks good on paper, but you’d probably be surprised to learn that 30% of this goes to the top 500 firms. So, where do the rest 79,500 firms lie? The bulk of them are stuck at what’s arguably the most critical stage- getting their strategy right.  While property management may not be the simplest business engagement, one thing you’ve got to admit is, it’s not as complicated as manufacturing. Even the smallest firms have fair chances of outdoing large established businesses, thanks to something called the web. According to a report prepared by NAR, 84% of both buyers and renters are heavily using the internet as their first step in their home searching process. If they can’t find your information online, you may be missing out on a huge chunk of potential business. Well, of course there’s the option of riding on a third party website like Facebook, but personal websites have proven to be considerably way more effective. Here’s why: Growing and Managing Your Clients Through CRM and Contact Management Getting tenants is not that simple anymore. With competition persistently growing, property management firms are now leveraging CRM and contact management tools in lead prospecting. And going by recent trends, both prospects and property management firms are happy with the consequent results. According to Nucleus Research, every dollar spent on such tools generates an average return of $8.71- super neat, right? So, here’s the thing- CRM and contact management can only be effec......
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How to Increase Your Google Map Rankings for Your Apartment

Google Maps for ApartmentsRanking in the local map pack can be super challenging at times. Especially when you’re in a very competitive metro area like Los Angeles or Atlanta. How can your community stand out among the rest of the apartments on Google Maps? Here are a few ideas: Increase the number of images on your Google Maps Listing Increase the number of positive reviews on your Google Maps Listing Increase your Google Hang Time on your Google Maps Listing       Increase Images: This is an easy one. Most G Listings that take the top spots usually have about 20 to 40+ images uploaded into their Google Listing. If you can get close to this number of photos uploaded you should be in a good position. Increase Positive Reviews: This is easier said than done, I know. However, with a great Survey Product (Which Apartment SEO offers!) you can survey your residents after a successful move-in or work order to get them to leave a review while you have their attention. Send residents a 1 question survey and if they leave 3 stars or less, it stays internal and anything 4 stars and above, the user gets prompted to leave a review on Google! Increase Your Google Hang Time: This item can get a little pricey but well worth the investment. Working with a Certified Google 360 Company is key. If you can have your 3d tour completed and added to your Google listing this will help increase the amount of time users s......
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Key Notes From "Growing Your Own: Lessons in Organic Talent Development"

Key Notes From "Growing Your Own: Lessons in Organic Talent Development"
Talent development is one of the biggest challenges facing the multifamily industry, as job duration continues to shrink threatening attempts at employee engagement.  I attended the " Growing Your Own: Lessons in Organic Talent Development" session at the 2017 NAA Education Conference and Expo to gain some insights into what leaders in the industry are doing to tackle these challenges!  Here are some of the notes I pulled away from the session, presented by Virginia Means, Jennifer Staciokas, and Virginia Love, and moderated by Debbie Phillips:  (I added some of my own commentary in italics)  39% of executives report difficulties in finding talent.  This is especially true for maintenance positions!  The number one need for many property management companies are high quality maintenance pros, and how to retain them as the construction industry continues to siphon off some of our best talent. Millennials are expected to stay in their jobs less than 3 years.  How does that affect knowledge transfer?  Another concern is relationship transfer.  We always say that prospects lease most often because of the connection made with the leasing consultant.  When we suffer from high employee turnover, the relationships with those lost leasing consultants often are not transferred properly, which then has a resonating affect on our resident turnover. One of the biggest impacts on employee engagement is when a team member leaves.  Those that are left after someone quits suffer through increased workload as everybody else has to pick up the slack.  Don't be afraid to differentiate your......
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Student Housing - The End of Marketing to Millennials & the Rise of Gen Z

The term millennial doesn’t have a clear-cut definition but is ever-present when it comes to apartment marketing. Commonly, millennial is often used as a catch-all phrase referring to nearly any young renter that falls beneath the age of 30. But what is the actual period when millennials were born? Chances are, if you were to try to pin down the exact time frame for the millennial generation, you’d encounter some conflicting answers. ·     Born between 1977 to 1994 – Metlife ·     Born between 1980 to 2000 – Time Magazine ·     Born between 1982 to 2004 – Demographers William Straus and Neil Howe ·     Born between 1983 to 2000 – US Public Interest Research Group By and large, the consensus is that the last millennials were born around the year 2000, which would currently make the youngest millennials 17 years old; which is around the age most students graduate from high school and go off to college or university. This group is what we classify as the last millennial class. The proactive student-housing marketer knows that this is the end of the road for marketing to the millennial generation - but what’s next? Move aside Millennials – get ready for Generation Z. While the last class of millennials could potentially still have another 4 to 5 years in student housing, the focus will largely be shifted to Generation Z now. Much like the millennial generation, there isn’t a defined date range for Gen Z; but most often quoted as between 2001 to 2015. Using this timeframe would mean the eldest group of Gen Z would be heading off to college or university in the n......
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Structure Your Marketing Team Right: Start with the Resident in Mind

The best marketing organizations in the world know one simple truth – revenue sustainability and growth begins with the customer. In fact, Gartner predicts that a majority of companies will redirect their resources into customer experience innovations by 2018.   The need for a customer-centric experience is no different in the multifamily industry, where only 52 percent of renters said they enjoyed the apartment search process, according to a RentPath study. In addition, the majority of prospective renters are reviewing three or more websites before even visiting the community and making a purchase decision. In fact, 88 percent of prospective renters said they needed to see a property before they made a purchase decision.   It’s a multi-channel search experience, yet multifamily marketing departments remain structured around individual marketing channels rather than customer needs or segments. When structured in this manner, messaging is often fragmented and focused on optimizing their channel rather than enabling customers. Marketing success is measured by channel-specific metrics, such as likes, followers and click rates, instead of customer-centric metrics, like leases and renewals.   This approach leads to ineffective marketing and a disjointed customer experience. But with a little creativity and research, marketing departments can become highly effective teams that put the renter experience first.   Flaws in the typical hierarchy The typical structure of a marketing department in the apartment industry might look something like this:     The vice president of operations oversees the entire system, ensuring that each separate group is meeting its goal......
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